YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – On Sunday, Jacob Blake, a Black man, was stopped by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was shot seven times in the back as his three children looked on from the car. Blake is recovering but is now paralyzed.
The shooting has reignited protests demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice. The protests stretch across the country from Wisconsin to right here in the Valley.
“The same things just keep happening over and over again. This has been happening forever and we still continue to see it but people still deny,” said YSU freshman Lekeila Houser.
Houser and Ke’Lynn Dean, another freshman at YSU, are involved with Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, along with Penny Wells, director of the non-profit organization. The non-profit aims at “learning the lessons of the Civil Rights movement.”
On Thursday, the three discussed what happened on Sunday and the days since.
“Knowing that something like that can happen over there, at the same time, at the same token, something like that could happen here,” Dean said.
They all say that what happened in Kenosha is just another example of education about race that can’t take a day off. They said areas like Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley can benefit from actively engaging in those conversations.
“I know it’s uncomfortable for people, especially a lot of white people. Talking about race is really uncomfortable but it is a conversation that needs to be had,” Houser said.
Wells said she’s proud of her Sojourn kids for speaking up about race issues and police brutality.
“They are our future… We need more Ke’Lynn and more Lekelias that will stand up and will take the time to realize this is important,” Wells said.
“Young people… We have so much power that we don’t even realize,” Houser said.
“We are one at the end of the day,” Dean said.